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Genealogical plagiarism -- legal or moral offense?

Right out of the chute, plagiarism is not a criminal act. The closest
legal involvement is with copyright infringement or violation claims.
Certainly, extensive plagiarism is almost always also a violation of
copyright. To quote from the University of Arizona Libraries website on Avoiding Plagiarism,
"Plagiarism is using others' ideas and words without clearly
acknowledging the source of that information." In genealogy, the
definition fits exactly. If you copy someone else's genealogical work
without attribution, you are plagiarizing the work. To avoid plagiarism,
quoting again from the University of Arizona Libraries.
To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit whenever you use:
  • another person's idea, opinion, or theory;
  • any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings--any pieces of information--that are not common knowledge;
  • quotations of another person's actual spoken or written words; or
  • paraphrase of another person's spoken or written words
You should be aware that using someone's work, even with attribution, will not avoid a copyright violation claim, that is if
the portion of the work used exceeds a somewhat arbitrary limit imposed
by the fair use doctrine. The Fair Use provisions of the U.S. Code are
in Section 107 of Title 17. Here is the Fair Use Statute:


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